Students leave New Market School early due to problems caused by lightning

Students were allowed to leave school early because the air conditioning wasn't working.

Posted: Aug 14, 2019 12:29 PM
Updated: Aug 14, 2019 5:52 PM

On Wednesday, more than half the students at a Madison County School left early because the air conditioning wasn't working.

WAAY 31 learned New Market School's problems started after the school was struck by lightning Tuesday night.

Huntsville Utilities said a storm passing through the area Tuesday night caused a tree to fall on power lines. The school told WAAY 31 that after Huntsville Utilities fixed their end of the problem, the principal soon realized their air conditioning system was also impacted by a lightning strike at the school.

"It was really hot. We were sweating most of the day pretty much," said Alex Pitts, a fifth grader at New Market.

She also said the damaged air conditioning system not only impacted students, but teachers' plans for the day.

"I told my students, 'We're just gonna make the best of it. We're gonna alternate our plans, make it fun. We might not be able to use our PowerPoints and do our usual stuff, but we're gonna make the most of it,' and they actually did really well," Ashley Cheyne, a kindergarten teacher at the school, said.

The school contacted parents about the air conditioning outage and allowed them to pick up their children early from school without penalty.

"They told us to not freak out. The lights might flicker a few times out in the hallway, but we don't need to scream because that would interrupt the class," said Pitts.

Teachers said they're relieved it didn't happen earlier in the school week when heat advisories brought the temperature to triple digits.

"We were just really grateful when the heat wave had 115 heat index. It's slightly cooler today, not by any means cool, but we're glad we're not under any heat advisory today. It would have made it so much worse," Cheyne said.

Administrators said that although more than half the students left school early on Wednesday due to heat, they do expect students to be returning back to school on Thursday for normal school hours.

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